Reena’s Exploration Challenge #108 – Known Them All

Poetry Week!!

Reena’s task this week – choose any one line out of the seven given here, and use it as the first line for your piece.

“For I have known them all already, known them all:”

From: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot


I’ve been here before you know.

Strange as it may seem, but we all have. Most of us choose not to remember, but I am blessed or cursed, depending on your point of view.

Our brains are amazing organs. They can pick and choose what to believe, how to act, and what to recall. I vividly recall two past lives. Not everything but enough to make me believe I was once there. They are both caught up in war. In World War One I was in the trenches on the western front, I can still smell the mud, the blood and the fear. The constant exploding of bombs, the cry of terrified men who in their final moments begged for the comfort of their mothers.

Later I was in the jungles of Malaysia fighting the Japanese, and once again the anguish and desperation of men trapped in a zone they knew they couldn’t extract themselves from has stayed with me. I know I died there as well, I can still feel the bullets tearing through me and the blackness descending.

But what good has it done me? Am I any the wiser for having a memory I can draw on?

I find it more frustrating than anything else as I see people doing the same things over and over. We are slow learners, we think we know best when history tells us we are doomed if we think in ways that deny the existent of others.

The same people from my past are still there, in different forms, but the thinking and behaviours are the same. Greed dominates their thinking, and their actions betray the narrowminded approach they take to the value of human life.

Yes, “..I have known them, known them all.”


Written for:


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12 Responses to Reena’s Exploration Challenge #108 – Known Them All

  1. Reena Saxena says:

    I’ve been through the PLR sessions with the help of Youtube. It sounds wonderful that memories lie in the folds of the soul, but as you point out – they don’t really help. There is also no way of verifying where the moving images come from. Subconscious is a deep well.

    Thanks for the very interesting take!

  2. Reena Saxena says:

    Reblogged this on Reena Saxena and commented:
    Michael’s take on the Exploration Challenge!

  3. For many reasons, I like this small story. Not least that bit, that knowing and remembering makes not a jot of difference, still we endlessly repeat our errors. And this is so. 🙂

  4. Sadje says:

    Very interesting concept.

  5. -Eugenia says:

    History repeats itself – sometimes you would think we learned from our past mistakes. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Nice read.

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